Medical City Dallas

Baylor, Scott & White Plano


Ingrown Toenails: Toe Protectors Turned Attackers

Have you ever dropped something sharp on your foot, or stepped on something pointed? It hurts to damage your feet like that—especially if the object that harmed you pierced the skin. What about when your own body is the object that pokes and punctures the surface of the skin? It does happen, and more often than you may think. Nail tissue is hard and grows slowly, but if something happens to damage it, it can curve or change and become ingrown.

Nails Grown Wrong

Ingrown Toenails Cause Red, Swollen, and Painful ToesYour nails are supposed to grow straight outward from the nail bed to protect the ends of your toes. Sometimes, however, they curve or grow sideways and into your skin. Though this can happen naturally because of unusually curled nails or a congenital problem, usually it’s the result of an injury or poor trimming habits. Stubbing or otherwise hurting your toe damages your nails. Too-tight shoes cramp the toes and put pressure on the ends, curving the keratin tissue. Toenails that have rounded edges instead of straight ends, or are trimmed too short, may curve or grow more sideways as well. As it grows, it pinches or pierces the skin, causing irritation and inflammation. If left alone, the wound can even become infected. This uncomfortable condition leaves your toe red and swollen. Sometimes pus or clear fluid even drains out of the area—especially if it gets infected.

Cutting Out the Bad

Ingrown nails have a tendency to recur if they aren’t treated properly. The nail edge that is damaging the skin needs to be removed so the rest of the nail can grow back properly. Dr. Joel W. Brook, Dr. David R. Northcutt, Dr. Irene Arroyo and Dr. John Baca will evaluate the affected toe to determine the best way to repair the injury. If the condition isn’t too serious, the doctors may try to lift the nail and place cotton or gauze under it so that the nail is encouraged to grow straighter instead of curved. If the problem has progressed too far, however, you may need to have the nail partially or completely removed.

For a partial removal, your toe will be numbed. The portion of the nail tissue that is digging into the skin will be cut away and allowed to regrow straight. If the problem recurs, the nail root may be destroyed to prevent it from growing incorrectly again. For more serious ingrown nails, the whole nail may need to be excised. Any infection will need to be cleaned out and treated with antibiotics. This is especially important for patients who struggle with weakened immune systems, like diabetics, since even small infections can lead to serious complications. As you heal, you’ll need to be careful not to damage the unprotected end of your toe, but you should be able to return to your activities within a few weeks.

If you’re struggling with nails that pinch and poke and curl into your skin, you don’t have to suffer through it. Ingrown nails can be treated quite easily by the experts at Dallas Podiatry Works. Rather than wincing every time you have to wear shoes or walk around, restore your toes to health. Contact Dallas Podiatry Works for an appointment or more information by calling either of our two offices—for the Dallas office, call (972) 566-7474; or for the Plano location, call (972) 943-3323—or by visiting our website contact page.

"I did 3 EPAT treatments and it gave me tremendous relief from my plantar fasciitis. I highly recommend this for anyone who is dealing with PF. Also, the physical therapist Dr. Brook sent me too is fantastic. I am definitely on the mend and so glad I did EPAT."- All H. 5 star
"Dr Northcutt is a fantastic physician. My first surgery with him (although painful), went very well. A couple of issues (with his staff) needed to be corrected, I appreciated his calm and professional demeanor and he corrected those issues promptly. He sets the bar high (the mark of a great physician), and that is the key reason why I'm coming back to him to correct my other foot. I would highly recommend him."- She B. 5 star
"The staff at Dallas Podiatry Works could not have been more courteous, helpful, and professional in doing their job. They made me feel comfortable when I was there, which is certainly appreciated. They answered all the questions that I had and just made each visit the most pleasurable that it could be. I would highly recommend them to anyone needing this type of care."- Joseph B. 5 star
"My experience was a good one from pre-op to post -op. I saw the doctor right before my surgery.He explained the process to me and my husband. The recovery nurse was great. It was neither crowded or chaotic as some day surgery centers. My foot is doing well as I follow instructions. I look forward to my one week progress visit!"- Patricia T.5 star
"I had dealt with a painful foot problem for five months and had seen three different Doctors before seeing an article in D Magazine about Dr. Joel Brook. Dr. Brook took one look at my foot, explained the causes for my pain and set me up on a successful treatment plan. He is very knowledgeable, thorough and exhibits a caring attitude. I highly recommend him."- Ginger W. 5 star
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Join the 50,000 happy feet that have found relief at Dallas Podiatry Works! Our Dallas podiatrist and Plano podiatrist provides 5-star-rated foot care and ankle care. Our advanced foot care includes children's foot care, sports-related foot injuries, bunion treatment, bunion removal surgery, toenail fungus treatment, ingrown toenail treatment, hammertoe treatment, claw toe treatment, neuroma treatment, heel pain relief, limb salvage, wound care, arthritis treatment, safe pedicure, medicures, corn removals, callus removals, wart removals and more.
Come experience Dallas Podiatry Works of Dallas, TX and Plano, TX! You will see for yourself that our podiatrists, foot doctors and foot specialists provide 5-star-rated foot care in Dallas TX, Plano TX, Frisco TX, McKinney TX, Richardson TX, Garland TX, Rockwall TX, Allen TX, Arlington TX and Fort Worth TX. Call 972.566.7474 today.
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